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31 Aug 2022

Gavin Hinks, Board Agenda

UK: Investors bring renewed pressure for human rights due diligence

UK parliament

'Pressure renewed for human rights due diligence', 31 August 2022

"Pressure on the UK government to legislate for mandatory human rights due diligence increased this week with a renewed call from investors to take action.

Their demand comes alongside a YouGov survey revealing more than three quarters of the UK public is behind the idea of new laws compelling companies to ensure their supply chains do no avoidable damage to the environment or exploit people. The news comes as the European Union works on new laws for human rights due diligence on member states, though some, like France, have long since imposed such measures on its companies.

In a letter to the government 39 investors—among them CCLA, Close Brothers and Brunel, one of the largest local government pension schemes—call for “primary legislation” to mandate companies undertaking mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence across “their own operations and value chains”.

According to the letter: “Comprehensive human rights and environmental due diligence by companies enables investors to identify the greatest risks to people and the planet, linked to portfolios, and to fulfil their responsibility and to respect human rights.”

The investors list demands including an “obligation’ to “identify, prevent, mitigate and account for” human right and environmental risks in supply chains, as well as engagement with workers and community members. There are also calls for laws that would allow companies to be pursued through the courts with the possibility of compensation for victims of abuse..."

Part of the following timelines

Towards a UK corporate accountability law

Investors call for UK due diligence law